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21 August, 2017 - 15:37 By Kate Sweeney

ARM backs Simprints $2.45m funding boost to prevent maternal and child deaths

ARM Dominic Vergine

After a rigorous review by global health experts, Cambridge startup Simprints was chosen among 15 of the world’s most promising ideas to save lives at birth in developing countries, edging out over 550 other applicants to secure millions in new funding to develop and refine its innovations.

The award comes from Saving Lives at Birth, a 'Grand Challenge for Development' funded by the Gates Foundation, USAID, UKaid, and the Canadian, Korean, and Norwegian governments.

Simprints builds open source software and biometric hardware to empower mobile tools used by researchers, NGOs, and governments fighting poverty around the world.

Simprints has been awarded a $2 million prize to scale its current project covering 22,000 patients in Bangladesh with BRAC – the world’s largest NGO – across 24 districts, reaching 4.85 million mothers and children over the next three years.

Simprints simultaneously received a $250k innovation award to begin R & D on neonate fingerprinting technology that can improve vaccination rates across the developing world.

Cambridge superchip architect and world technology leader Arm, whose technologies reach 80 per cent of the global population, will contribute a further $200k to expand Simprints’ integration with leading global health technology platforms and networks through the 2030Vision initiative.

The initiative led by ARM is a partnership that connects businesses, NGOs and governments to help them to unlock the opportunities technology presents for transforming businesses and improving people’s lives around the world. 

Dominic Vergine (pictured), head of sstainability at Arm says: “Investment in innovation and the partnerships which take technologies to scale is the model both for our core business and our role in sustainable development.
 
“Arm has partnered with Simprints from its earliest days providing engineering support, funding and mentorship, and joining our 2030Vision initiative will help it reach global scale and support millions of healthcare workers in years to come.”

Simprints has developed biometric technology that is 228 per cent more accurate with the scarred, worn fingerprints typical of ‘last mile’ beneficiaries.

It empowers already existing mobile tools used by NGOs and governments to deliver essential services like healthcare at the frontlines. Its goal is to radically disrupt the inaccurate way we currently track and deliver social impact, instead building a world where every person – not based on guesswork – actually counts in the fight against poverty.

Simprints works with world leaders in development including UNICEF, Johns Hopkins University, BRAC, and multiple governments to improve service delivery in the hardest-to-reach regions of the world. 

The Saving Lives at Birth partnership, launched in 2011, includes the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation (Norad), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Grand Challenges Canada (funded by the Government of Canada), the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA).

It is a global call for groundbreaking, scalable solutions to end infant and maternal mortality around the time of birth. Saving Lives at Birth aims to address the 303,000 maternal deaths, 2.7 million neonatal deaths, and 2.6 million stillbirths that occur each year around the world.

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